Posted by Guru Rao

Remember when “omnichannel” was still just a buzzword? Now it’s a way of life.

Consumers expect a retail experience with dimension. And while e-commerce giants seem to have the high ground since they got in the door early, retailing is a lot more complicated than just having a well-established online footprint. In fact, even Amazon, the magnate of modern retail, has its shortcomings, namely its dearth of a physical presence, which other big names like Walmart and Target have found ways to exploit.

The omnichannel game isn’t an easy one to play, and it’s getting harder. But if your downstream delivery logistics cover these three bases, you have more than just a fighting chance.

1. Real-time order tracking

“We’re talking about end-to-end order status transparency.”

Before you can “delight your customers,” with omnichannel benefits, you need to give them what they actually want, according to the Harvard Business Review, and the modern consumer absolutely craves visibility.

We’re talking about end-to-end order status transparency. When an order exchanges hands with a contracted carrier, it shouldn’t disappear for that leg of the journey. Your digital order processing tools must integrate with theirs, so you, and consequently your customer, are always kept in the loop.

Consumers would rather know now that their package will be late than be unpleasantly surprised later on. Remember, being available on multiple retail channels is useless if you can’t tell the customer what they want to know.

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2. Buy online, pick up in-store

Your physical retail footprint is an advantage, assuming you know how to treat it as such. Take a page out of Walmart’s book: Give your customers the gift of buy-online, pick up in-store.

If you can deliver faster service to the customer by having a product shipped to a store near them rather than to their house, then do it. The goal is customer satisfaction. How you get there matters less than actually getting there.

Digitally model your supply chain resources (physical stores, fleets, etc.) with delivery management software, and you’ll start seeing new roads to customer satisfaction.

3. Faster shipping

Less than half of today’s customers consider three to four-day shipping to be “fast,” according to Deloitte, which is fewer than ever. This “Prime effect” means that sooner or later, you’ll need to deliver a consistently fast customer experience across all channels.

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The omnichannel retail checklist: Are your logistics game?